‘It’s so devastating’: Mystery behind woman’s death haunts family

CHARLOTTE — A woman’s unsolved murder has been haunting her family for six months.

Diane Hester’s body was discovered on Aug. 5, 2023, in some woods off Belmeade Drive in west Charlotte. Homicide detectives believe her body had been there for 12 days.

Diane Hester’s daughter, Deannia Hester, said it’s been difficult.

“You’re expected to go back to life like everything is normal and it’s not,” Deannia Hester said. “That’s my mom, you know.”

Diane Lewis was a pastor in Jacksonville, Florida.

“She always honored God,” her daughter said. “She’s always praised him. She would stop in the middle of the grocery store and pray for someone.”

She also ran a religious school that fell on hard times.

“We’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations in business and church, but she never lost faith,” Deannia Hester said.

The family eventually lost the school and moved to Charlotte in 2020 for a fresh start, which came to an end when neighbors found a body.

Police determined that Diane Lewis was killed but they have not said how.

“It was an eerie feeling to know that the person who brought me into this world, the person who raised me to be the woman that I am today, someone left her out like she was trash,” Deannia Hester said.

There has been no information if there are suspects or any motives.

“It’s so devastating because it wasn’t necessary,” her daughter said. “You know my mom was 5-foot-1. You know she was a tiny lady. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Deannia Hester has so many unanswered questions.

“For the past two, three months, I have been angry, so to speak, with the Lord because she loved him so much and it was kind of like, ‘How could you allow this?’” the daughter said.

Deannia Hester believes that someone has information that might solve her mother’s murder.

“I think some of those questions could be answered and it will help us soothe the pain a little bit, but we’ll never get rid of it,” Deannia Hester said. “I know how it feels for your soul to be ripped from your body and you’re expected to go back to life like everything is normal and it’s not.”

Call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 if you have information.

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